The Purpose and Creativity Behind Denver Drag Style

As Denver Fashion Week quickly approaches, it’s clear there’s immense talent in the ever-so-changing and growing fashion scene in Denver. It is important to recognize all the aspects of the fashion scene here that have allowed it to transgress and grow each and every season. The very prevalent drag industry is one of the most profound forms of fashion and art within Denver. 

In fact, the style produced and worn within the drag environment is some of the most meticulously created pieces in the fashion industry. Not to mention the hours it takes for a drag entertainer to get ready, from gluing down their eyebrows to putting on nylons and pantyhose. 

Today, drag is commercialized as entertainment for larger, cis, heteronormative audiences. Through this transition, many local Denver drag queens feel, now more than ever, it is essential to maintain the level of creativity and uniqueness that drag presented in its origin. 

For Denver drag star Venus Victrola, “I personally do not like limiting my inspiration to just the drag world and getting it from other drag artists because that increases the chances of us all looking the same.”

Photo Courtesy of Jay Cupcake.

Victrola’s name comes from the greek goddess of love: Venus. Additionally, it is influenced by the fact that this goddess could change her appearance according to whom she wanted to be on that given day and depending on whom she would seduce. 

I really enjoy expressing my queerness through flamboyant fashion,” Victrola said, who uses fae/faer pronouns.

Victrolas’ introduction into the drag scene was not seamless. Victrola started out with Burlesque but found that industry to be centered around heterosexual cis normative women — but as Venus was coming out as queer and gender fluid, Victrola had to transition into doing burlesque at queer clubs as they seemed to be more accepting of Victrolas’s identity. From there, an official drag persona emerged. 

Today,as I have become more confident in my gender out of drag, I do what drag queens call ‘fishy realness’ to present a more realistic vision of femininity,’ Victrola said. 

Regarding Victrola’s drag fashion, “I am altering items coming off the rack of thrift stores. It ends up being cheaper than buying fabric from scratch.”

Appointed as Miss Gay Colorado for 2022, Victrola emphasized the importance of changing to keep up with the day-to-day expectations in the fashion and drag world. This involved changing Victrolas’s Miss Gay Colorado dress drastically, just a week before the competition. In response to the overturn of Roe vs. Wade, Victrola wanted to represent this injustice through creativity in fashion construction. 

Photo Courtesy of Jay Cupcake

“I changed my entire design concept because of that ruling. I wore a red dress and crystallized a hanger over my pelvic area,” Victrola explained. 

Another Denver drag queen, Jessica L’Whor, explained that “everything that I wear in terms of the idea is created by me, sometimes with the help of execution and construction by others.”

L’Whor’s drag style involves a bit of everything. In fact, she prides herself on collecting so many extravagant pieces that sometimes her collection could be considered “drag hoarding.”

“I will hold onto a piece until I can come up with a story for the entire look head to toe,” she explained.

Photo Courtesy of Scott Kirby

Similarly to the style process of Victrola and L’Whor, Denver drag queen Bambinaa Donutt also prides herself on her ability to “thrift flip” her drag outfits. 

“For me, I put a lot of time into ensuring everything, in terms of my drag, is well thought out,” Donutt explained.  Through her involvement in the scene for about a year now, she is learning how to keep up with the fast-paced style of drag and the concept that drag is always of the moment, just like fashion. 

Photo Courtesy of Bambinaa Donuts

Donutt’s style derives directly from high glam fashion. She loves anything shiny: sequins, jewels and diamonds. 

“I get a lot of my inspiration, drag-wise, from our beloved Yvie Oddly. She has been in the Denver scene for so long and then came out to win Season 11 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. It has been a great vision to show that if she can do it, I can do it too,” she said. 

On top of Oddly, Donutt also looks for style inspiration from her favorite musicians like Megan The Stallion. But most importantly, “at the end of the day, I look up to myself,” she explained. 

Photo Courtesy of Bambinaa Donuts

These queens emphasized the tedious process of putting together their drag style. Not only does it take hours, but it takes immense inventiveness. Victrola, L’Whor and Donutt create their own pieces through a rigorous process involving lots of sewing and rhinestones. 

“For a lot of drag queens, our style is directly influenced by what we have and what we can make,” Victrola concluded. 

Photo Courtesy of Jay Cupcake

From the sometimes witchy drag style of Victrola to the shiny style of Donutt to L’Whor, the chameleon of drag, these queens demonstrate the hours of work that goes into what they do. Performing in Denver allows each of the queens to expand on their creativity while building a sense of community in the process. 

“I love that there is so much opportunity for art, expression, and spaces that allow people to succeed. You can find a little bit of everything in our drag scene and it’s beautiful,” said L’Whor.